In this week’s issue of Weekly News, the reason why Ted and Ellie did not post last week. They have been working really hard on finally perfecting… the first part of the TFRC Story!
Here it is:
Disclaimer: Some audiences may find some scenes disturbing in this story. It is advised that parents read this to confirm that their child will not be scared or shocked by anything included.
The Bear Mystery
Hello friends, this is a story about two bears, and I am sorry to say that the first, Ted, might not survive the end of the story. The tragedy began in Manor House, where the bears live. A crime had been committed, and they knew they needed to solve it. Someone had broken into Number 15, Green Grove, once again, and it was in the local newspapers yet again. Nobody knew what the bear in black wanted, so everyone was scared of him. Worst of all, he could disappear in a flash and you never knew where he was. One night, the bears decided to investigate the house. A storm was raging outside and ominous howls echoed beyond the towering iron gate. They crept onward, through the gnarled, spiky trees, which were reaching out towards them; Ellie in front and Ted behind. The front door was slightly ajar. Ellie got the impression that it had already been broken into. The windows were cracked, and the wind scattered the leaves and twigs over the floor like a furious beast storming through the undergrowth. They steadily crept onwards, Ted shining the torch. The house was very old- fashioned inside. The curtains and bed covers were laced, and the furniture was all wooden. But as they entered the dining room a horrifying sight met their eyes. A fire was spreading across fast, and they immediately knew what was happening. Someone was using this to trap the person who lived here! But why? Where was the evidence, and why here? They tiptoed further. Then, they froze. Footsteps echoed around, and they heard distant voices. “Give me the book,” said a hoarse voice. “I can’t,” said a second voice, scared and weak. “Book? What book? We need to find out,” whispered Ted. “Wait,” said Ellie,” What’s that light?” They wordlessly agreed to follow it. It seemed to be coming from the library. “Library means books!” said Ted excitedly. But it seemed to come from everywhere… except the thin line of light leading to the third shelf on the right. The peered closer, and the light became blinding. Ellie ran her paws over the ancient, tattered books, bound in beautiful leather covers. The pages rustled gently. Teddy took a book from the shelf and blew the layer of dust off. They opened the cover. Words were strangely appearing on the first page. It read: This book belongs to- but they didn’t get to read anymore because the book… had sucked them in.
They seemed to be in a wide plain. The grassy field was coated in trees and colourful, fragrant flowers. And in the distance, they could see a magnificent heart shaped castle, complete with a pointed spire. “It’s amazing!” said Ted. “No, it’s astounding!” said Ellie. “No wonder he was interested,” he replied. “But what is it?” asked Ellie. There was a pause.” Magic,” came a reply. But the voice wasn’t Ted’s.
An angel had appeared out of thin air. “This is the magical land of Starzonia,” she continued. “This is magic?” asked Ellie, suspiciously.” If this is magic, then how did we get here?” But there was no reply. The angel was already floating away. They ran after her. They saw her look sadly up at the castle. “What’s wrong?” asked Ted curiously. “It’s the magical keys,” she said, “They’re gone!” “Keys?” asked Ellie, puzzled. ”The magical keys of Starzonia! They’re used to keep dark forces away from Starzonia but it’s only a matter of time before – “she started sobbing, but she did not need to finish her sentence. ”How about we help you find them?” asked Teddy, but apparently the angel had used her magic, for the last thing they saw was the angel smiling hopefully at them, and then they were floating away.
They landed before a towering wrought iron gate, strangled by ivy. Only six silvery words lingered in the air. My home is in the mountains. In front of the large handles were two warty, lumpy trolls. “Let us in!” said Ellie. “Not unless you guess my name,” replied the fattest troll, smiling a nasty smile. “Here,” it said, and handed them a scroll. Ellie read it out:
To ugly travellers,
You really dare to venture through this castle, do you? However, if you do you must guess my name. If you don’t, passing through these gates will be dangerous, even fatal.
Sir Handsome Ragnold the Troll.
“Umm,” said Ellie, trying not to giggle, “Is your name Ragnold?” “How did you know, ugly traveller?” he asked. “It was on the letter,” she mumbled, avoiding his gaze. “Oh yeah. You may enter.” he groaned grumpily. They entered the dark, mysterious castle. The rusty iron door creaked as they crept in. Gloomy shadows appeared on the walls, and they heard a shrill scream echo through the corridor. Without warning, a dagger dripping with blood shot out from under the door.
Squealing, Ellie leapt out of the way. “It’s okay,” Ted whispered comfortingly, and Ellie let out a sigh of relief. Ted crept over to the deadly weapon, and examined it closely. “I think this was a murder weapon once. It looks dangerous and – “
“Wait!” said Ellie, tentatively, “This is still warm. It must have happened recently!” “Maybe that was why we heard that scream,” cried Ted. Suddenly, a grotesque guard troll burst out from behind the door, scowling at them. “Oy you little troublema’ers, what ‘r you doin’ here?” “We…we were just…” muttered Ellie. “What has been going on here?” cried the troll as he gazed at the gap in the doorway. Ted and Ellie peered cautiously over his shoulder and stopped dead in their tracks, for there, lying in a pool of blood, was old Mr Farrow, the former resident of 17 Green Grove. The mystery was getting deeper. Ted tiptoed closer, and spotted a rusty key poking out from the man’s pocket. The troll hurriedly marched off to tell his boss (Ragnold) about the issue. Ted pointed it out to Ellie, and her eyes lit up with excitement. They tiptoed closer to examine it further. Engraved into the metal were two letters: S and Z. “This must be it!” whispered Ellie, and pocketed it, cautiously looking around to make sure that no one was there. “Now we need to escape!” said Ted. “Mwahahahaha…! You’re not going anywhere!” said a wicked voice. They spun round. It was the murderer.
He was an extremely tall figure, with a bloody dagger clutched in his hand. He grinned nastily, and started chasing them through the narrow corridors. Every time he gained on them, they just about had time to dodge the knives that he sent slicing through the air. Ellie’s paws were trembling violently as she clutched the tiny key tightly. Ted threw her away just as another knife thudded into the wall, where Ellie’s head had been just moments ago. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed the man lift off from the ground, and transform into a fearsome viper. He had no time to question this peculiar transformation. He assumed that this was a part of the “powerful evil” the angel had warned them about. He threw himself against the wall as golden flames appeared from nowhere and scorched the mighty oak door before them into ash in a matter of seconds. The man wasn’t just a murderer, he must also be a demon. They sprinted through the heavily bolted, almost unbreakable metal door just as it was shattered like glass by an extraordinarily strong blast of wind from behind them. He reached out with long, pale fingers towards Ted, and claws extended from his fingertips. He narrowly missed Ted as he tried to snatch them up. Ellie knew the gruesome truth of what would happen if someone was taken to a demon’s lair. It was usually in fairy tales, but in this mysterious twisted realm, everything was a fairy tale. She shuddered, but kept running as fast as she could. She was exhausted, and couldn’t carry on for much longer. Suddenly, she noticed a distant flicker of light. “Ellie, it’s a portal! Quick! Run!” Ted cried out anxiously. “He’s catching up!” Ellie screamed, turning her head around and glancing at the horrifyingly small distance between her and the demon. She summoned the last of her energy and ran, panting, towards the light, jumping in at the last minute. She felt a strange, dizzying sensation before collapsing on the ground, breathing heavily.
Ted’s knees gave way, and he fell on top of her, gasping for air. She scrambled to her feet, and hauled Ted up too, and they felt like laughing with relief, for standing there, just in front of them was the angel that they had met previously, and she was smiling brightly too, happy that they had returned. But then her expression turned grave, and they stopped laughing abruptly. “That was only the first, and you barely survived. There are still 3 more. It would be too dangerous.” said the angel sincerely, “No. I can’t let you.” “We’re prepared,” said Ted bravely. “Yeah!” Ellie agreed, “We’re ready!” “Fine. But don’t blame me if something goes wrong. I warned you, remember?” she replied sulkily. “Don’t worry, we’ll send you a postcard!” said Ted cheerfully, “You won’t miss all the fun!” And they were whisked away to the next location.
After the unusual mist that surrounded them through every portal had cleared, Ellie and Ted gazed around at what seemed to be a deserted field, wondering what to do. It seemed very empty and uninhabited, however after walking a while in circles (as they had no true sense of direction in this desolate place) they noticed a small village in the distance and started to head towards it.
They were exhausted by the time they reached the village, even after the countless pauses and breaks they had along the way. They had eaten all the food that Ellie prepared along the way, and Ted had even eaten some of the grass, while Ellie nibbled at a flower. Their fur was drenched, as it had started to rain. They were planning to look to the villagers for help. But as soon as they stepped into the village, Ted knew immediately that something was wrong. All was still. There was no wind, no gentle breeze. Yet the windmill was spinning hazardously fast, as though the sails would fly off at any moment. And there were no people. The square ought to be packed with people, bustling and shoving people out of the way for the best fruit, best bread. But apart from a single man with a long cloak standing close to the windmill, there was no-one.
Ellie huddled closer to Ted, terrified. Ted crept closer to the man with the cloak. He cautiously approached him, willing himself not to make a sound, and trying not to disturb him… but he didn’t need to. Suddenly, the man swung round with astonishing speed, grabbed Ellie viciously and held a knife to her throat. Ted gasped loudly; he was petrified! He was trembling uncontrollably, but still he stayed rooted to the spot so as to not harm Ellie. He had no clue what to do! It had happened so suddenly, and Ellie was now whimpering in terror as the man tore the key from her grip. The man spoke in a cold, harsh voice: Retrieve the bear! Simultaneously, all the village doors creaked open and human shaped creatures stepped out and came blundering towards Ted. They had crooked backs and blind white eyes which were eagerly fixed upon him, making him feel deceived, helpless. They were approaching at a steady pace, not hurrying, and not surrounding him to stop him getting away. But there was something sinister about them, all the same. As if they knew he wouldn’t try to escape. As if they had realised that fear, uncertainty and dread were creeping up inside him. As if they knew the fear that they were creating. Ted felt a wave of cold pass over him, and a feeling of anxiety and anticipation joined the fear. The people slowed to a halt, reached out… Ted couldn’t bear to imagine what they would do to him… and then they stopped dead. They were holding bowls of a delicious smelling soup, waiting for Ted to take one. That was when the voices came.
Ted, Ted, Ted! Eat it or else you’ll be hungry! Come on Ted, I’ve prepared it ‘specially for you! It was Ellie’s voice, when they were younger, half offering half demanding him to try some of her soup. This soup must be just as good. It really is good Ted, definitely! Then he heard his own voice. Ellie, wait a moment, will you? His voice, rude and insignificant, acting as though the soup was a waste of time, how could he have, when the soup smelt so good! And he needed food, he couldn’t stay hungry forever… Almost instantly, Ted was jolted back to reality. The smell had wafted away again, and he realised that he had been tricked. Ellie, however was still gazing dreamily at the bowl of soup in her hands. He didn’t know what to do! The people’s combined power restrained him, but he couldn’t let Ellie drink it! So instead he shouted as loud as he possibly could, “Ellie, it’s not real! It’s a poison!” She was still in a trance. “ELLIE!”
Suddenly, Ellie jolted awake. Ted sighed with relief. She was alive! She snatched the key up from the ground, and stared around wildly. Ted knew she was wondering what had happened to the sense of foreboding that had been resting on their shoulders for all this time. Then Ted realised. “That’s it!” cried Ellie. “The key is in the windmill!” They had been gradually moving away from the windmill, and the people had been getting weaker. Maybe that was why! But the poisoned servants of the strange wizard were not retreating let alone surrendering. They were just edging closer and closer, soon ready to pounce. Ellie could taste their fury in the air, smell their ghastly rotten breath. They had scarcely any time. They could already see the flicker of light from the portal in the distance. They ran to the windmill, panting, used the magical Starzonian key to shatter the lock, and bolted up the stairs to find a single empty room, containing nothing but a single chest. They forced the rusty padlock off and threw it onto the floor and opened the chest to reveal… nothing. Disappointment and frustration swelled up inside Ellie, and she was about to collapse on to the floor with exhaustion. They were catching up anyway, until… footsteps. Malicious laughter. “I’ve got the key! You’ll never catch me!” They spun round. It was the demon again.
Wait until next week to find out what happens next…